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6 Surprisingly Healthy Foods That Are Also Keto-Friendly

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  Published on April 3rd, 2023
  Reading time: 4 minutes
  Last modified March 16th, 2023
Butter is a surprisingly healthy and keto food

The keto diet turns conventional wisdom on its head, promoting the consumption of high-fat foods to encourage the body to burn fat reserves instead of glucose. With this new paradigm proven to promote weight loss and overall health, you might be surprised by some of the foods that you can still eat and enjoy. There are a number of surprisingly healthy foods that deserve their place on a keto menu time and again. 

6 Surprisingly Healthy (and Keto) Foods 

If you are struggling to figure out where you should focus your dietary efforts, here are a few foods that have been traditionally avoided on a diet but that are now proving themselves healthy.

Animal Fat

One of the most common myths of a healthy diet is that all animal fat has a negative impact on your health. To the contrary, animal fat actually proves to be beneficial for some aspects of your overall health. According to one analysis of dietary fat consumption, animal fats prove to be high in saturated fats. [1]Another review of the literature shows that consuming saturated fats in the diet can protect against stroke. [2]

That being said, many animal fats actually have a higher content of monounsaturated fats. Animal fats from chicken, pork, and beef all fall into this category. 

Pork fat is surprisingly healthy and keto

This type of monounsaturated fat can improve lipid profiles, reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors, and minimize hypertension. A lower likelihood of falling into the obese category should also be noted here. [3] To make the best use of some of these surprising health benefits, you can opt for fattier cuts of meat (which also happen to be less expensive in general). You can even cook your foods in animal fats like lard (pork fat) or tallow (beef fat). 


While many people steer clear of dairy when adhering to a keto diet, it can actually be one of the best sources of nutrition if you stick with the plain, high fat variety. One of the many benefits of a low-carb yogurt is that it contains lactobacillus. Even though you may have a higher carb count in a serving of yogurt than in some other foods, this ingredient decreases fasting blood sugar, insulin concentration, and even insulin resistance. [4]

Dark Chocolate

If you want to indulge your sweet tooth, there may be no better way than choosing a few squares of high cacao dark chocolate. Most dietary experts recommend sticking with a high cacao level of 85 percent or more to tap into the benefits of this superfood. 

A few of the benefits of eating a serving of dark chocolate (usually just a couple squares) include:

  • Modulation of the immune system
  • Prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancers, and some brain-related disorders
  • Anti-diabetic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Good for weight management [5]


Much like yogurt, many people may try to eliminate dairy snacks like yogurt altogether when dieting. Instead, keto introduces it as part of a healthy and sustainable diet. Cheese of any variety is a great option but preference is given to cheese that is made with unprocessed dairy and high fat content. 

While it may have a relatively high degree of saturated fatty acids and even sodium, one long-term research study concluded that these high-fat cheeses promoted fewer instances of type 2 diabetes risk. [6]

Heavy Cream

If you want to lighten up your coffee or add a dollop of fresh whipped cream onto a homemade berry cobbler, heavy cream should be your go-to. While high in fat, you can easily find varieties made without added sugar that minimize risk of cardiovascular disease and promote a healthy and balanced diet with lots of vitamins and minerals. [7]


Heavy cream is healthy in moderate amounts

Many people associate eggs with higher levels of cholesterol and may steer clear of the goodness of a fried egg. However, studies are now showing that dietary cholesterol doesn’t have the impact on blood cholesterol that it was once thought to have. Eggs are balanced food full of both beneficial protein and fats, and you might be missing out if you eliminate them from your diet altogether. These simple foods are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, containing the elusive ALA as well as EPA and DHA. [8]

Finding Surprisingly Healthy Foods for Your Diet

There is more to the keto diet than simply keeping your carb counts low. You also need to make sure that you are consuming foods that benefit your overall health. These surprisingly healthy foods can make a big difference in the variety in your diet and can boost your overall health in a number of ways. Consider which of these surprising foods you can incorporate into your keto menu this week!

Ashley Simpson is a freelance writer dedicated to helping people improve their lives -- in every way possible. She understands that food and diet are necessary components to a healthy lifestyle and experiments with both. When she isn't typing away, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son.



Forouhi, N. G., Krauss, R. M., Taubes, G., & Willett, W. (2018). Dietary fat and cardiometabolic health: evidence, controversies, and consensus for guidance. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 361, k2139. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k2139


Astrup, A., Magkos, F., Bier, D. M., Brenna, J. T., de Oliveira Otto, M. C., Hill, J. O., King, J. C., Mente, A., Ordovas, J. M., Volek, J. S., Yusuf, S., & Krauss, R. M. (2020). Saturated Fats and Health: A Reassessment and Proposal for Food-Based Recommendations: JACC State-of-the-Art Review. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 76(7), 844–857. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2020.05.077


Zong, G., Li, Y., Sampson, L., Dougherty, L. W., Willett, W. C., Wanders, A. J., Alssema, M., Zock, P. L., Hu, F. B., & Sun, Q. (2018). Monounsaturated fats from plant and animal sources in relation to risk of coronary heart disease among US men and women. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 107(3), 445–453. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqx004


Khalili, L., Alipour, B., Asghari Jafar-Abadi, M., Faraji, I., Hassanalilou, T., Mesgari Abbasi, M., Vaghef-Mehrabany, E., & Alizadeh Sani, M. (2019). The Effects of Lactobacillus casei on Glycemic Response, Serum Sirtuin1 and Fetuin-A Levels in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Iranian biomedical journal, 23(1), 68–77. https://doi.org/10.29252/.23.1.68


Samanta, S., Sarkar, T., Chakraborty, R., Rebezov, M., Shariati, M. A., Thiruvengadam, M., & Rengasamy, K. R. R. (2022). Dark chocolate: An overview of its biological activity, processing, and fortification approaches. Current research in food science, 5, 1916–1943. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crfs.2022.10.017


Slurink, I. A. L., den Braver, N. R., Rutters, F., Kupper, N., Smeets, T., Elders, P. J. M., Beulens, J. W. J., & Soedamah-Muthu, S. S. (2022). Dairy product consumption and incident prediabetes in Dutch middle-aged adults: the Hoorn Studies prospective cohort. European journal of nutrition, 61(1), 183–196. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-021-02626-9


Lordan, R., Tsoupras, A., Mitra, B., & Zabetakis, I. (2018). Dairy Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: Do We Really Need to be Concerned? Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 7(3), 29. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods7030029


Ehr, I. J., Persia, M. E., & Bobeck, E. A. (2017). Comparative omega-3 fatty acid enrichment of egg yolks from first-cycle laying hens fed flaxseed oil or ground flaxseed. Poultry science, 96(6), 1791–1799. https://doi.org/10.3382/ps/pew462

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